I often find myself in interesting situations, among people who are foreign to me, and I think "Wow, what a diverse group!" So many times in my life, I haven't noticed that I brought the diversity... that I was the "exotic" in the group.
I remember going with my Dad to my grandmother's Baptist church on that visit to Hot-As-Heck, North Carolina so many years ago, where everyone inside was just so warm and loving, and all of the black people united under one roof, singing the longest renditions of "Amazing Grace" and "Leaning on the Everlasting Arms" I had ever heard. In that place were warm smiles, deep hugs, beautiful hats and fancy dresses. "Where did all of these people live?" I wondered. They were absent on the streets, in the stores and neighborhoods we'd seen.
Now, as an older person, I see that all of these people had gotten used to the rules of the town, the patterns and schedules of their neighbors, and the rhythms of these long, long, long songs. I felt I fit in there, but I was very much a "big city girl" to them, and my family made that particular service "diverse", in their eyes.
And diversity isn't always welcome. I'd like to think that everyone wants to inspect and explore other people's surroundings and customs, get to know what makes them "tick", see what things they have in common... not necessarily. Sometimes, it is "Welcome. When are 'ya headed back?" And that has to be okay.